The third episode of Star Wars: The Acolyte, “Destiny,” was released on Disney+ yesterday and the entire episode was a flashback to Osha and Mae’s childhood. Fans learned more about their past and the fire set by Mae that supposedly destroyed their entire home. The twins are revealed to be from a coven of witches on Brendok who have the power to use the Force. ComicBook recently had the chance to chat with The Acolyte‘s costume designer, Jennifer Bryan. Since the newest episode featured a side of Star Wars fans have never seen before, we asked Bryan how she created the looks for the show’s witches.

“I did look at the Dathomirians, the red witches,” Bryan began. “And we talked about it and [series creator Leslye Headland] made it clear to me that they were not the same community and she didn’t want the viewers to confuse them. So that meant that I could just kind of go off … There are some things in Star Wars and in the canon that I had to pay attention to and adhere to … But with them, since they never existed before in the galaxy, I had this free reign to kind of start from scratch. And what I did is, I started to look at ancient warrior cultures and ancient cultures that had women as warriors.”

(Photo: Lucasfilm/Disney+)

“You find that in old African cultures, female warriors,” Bryan continued. “I looked at Asia, Asia Minor, some of the Pacific tribes … And sometimes if it was a culture that maybe didn’t really embrace female warriors, but they may have things in her clothing that I felt could translate onto the guards of the witches because that community is almost like a mirror image of Coruscant. They had guards and lookouts because they were a secret society that had figured out somehow how to use the Force. We dunno how they got it. Maybe that will be revealed later on. But they knew that they had what the Jedi had … A color selection I did was I looked at them all as queens, like warrior queens. So I selected purple because it’s a royal color and especially for Mother Aniseya [Jodie Turner-Smith].

“She’s so tall and very regal,” Bryan added. “And then in this community, it was a self-sustained community. So they had normal lives. You had people who took care of these two girls who were going to be the heiresses of this coven, and you had cooks and washers and guards. I had to design outfits that fit the occupations or the roles that they had in the society. And again, I got inspiration from some cloaks and robes … How do we have them robed and cloaked but not have it look like a Jedi robe?”

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

“I was able to draw on and be inspired by some cloaks that Portuguese women on the island of Azores wore in the, I think, 18th and late early 19th century. And these things had very, very, very deep hoods, but had a kind of waist. So there was a femininity to that … It was sort of the base for the designs that I did for their day wear. So they wore these hooded cloaks and it kind of makes your subconscious think ‘Jedi Force,’ but not.”

“It’s important, especially something as unique as Star Wars that has such a long visual history in the story itself, and also with viewers because you’ve got YouTube and you’ve got that rewind button and you pull out the old VHS or whatever you watched it on, that digital reference is there. So when you’re doing a new chapter in something that has a very long history itself and a canon … the challenge is to forecast those things since I’m 100+ plus years behind, and kind of make a design relationship that it doesn’t look like that, because it doesn’t exist yet. But this thing that I’m doing has to harken as a predecessor to what can be Obi-Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader or something. Some little design thread needs to make the viewer, and especially the super fans, go ‘That’s where that came from.’ It’s like a design ping-pong.”

Stay tuned for more from our interview with Jennifer Bryan. The first three episodes of Star Wars: The Acolyte are now streaming on Disney+ with the fourth episode scheduled to drop on Tuesday, June 18th.


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